Felix Rosenqvist will make his IndyCar Series debut in 2019 after having signed with Chip Ganassi Racing. The Swedish driver, who has taken part and won races in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship with Mahindra Racing for the last two years, will partner Scott Dixon at the front-running IndyCar squad.
“To say I’m thrilled or excited to be making this step in my career would be an understatement,” Rosenqvist said, “Coming to IndyCar and driving for Chip is just a dream come true. I’ve followed the team for as long as I can remember, and it’s the kind of team and owner any driver would want to race for.
“Scott has had another tremendous season with three wins and a fifth title, so you absolutely couldn’t ask for anything more in a teammate. I can’t wait to start contributing to the team and getting to spend more time with everyone at NTT DATA.”
Rosenqvist already has experience of racing in the United States. After an extended tenure in European Formula 3 from 2011 to 2015, Rosenqvist was unable to find the budget to make the step up to the GP2 Series with his former team Prema Powerteam. He, therefore, announced that he would head across the Atlantic to compete in the Indy Lights championship for 2016.
Sadly, Rosenqvist was unable to complete the whole schedule of races in 2016, as the later races of the season clashed with his commitments in various Sports Car championships. However, he still made a great impression in the ten races that he took part in. He took a maiden victory in his first race weekend, winning the second race supporting the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. He would return to the top step of the podium later in the year on the streets of Toronto when he won both races of the weekend.
Rosenqvist’s Indy Lights prowess, coupled with his numerous achievements during his junior career, including a Macau Grand Prix win, was enough to attract the attention of Chip Ganassi Racing. The team awarded Rosenqvist with two IndyCar tests, both held at Mid-Ohio, one in 2016 and the other a year later in 2017.
During the two tests, Rosenqvist heavily impressed the members of the Ganassi racing squad. His most vocal praise came from Scott Dixon’s race engineer Chris Simmons, who told Autosport that Rosenqvist’s second test had been “flawless.”
“He was flawless, just like we expected after last year,” Simmons said, “He did more miles in less time than in last year’s test, and there were no signs of fatigue.”
“But with Felix’s pedigree and the races he’s won over here and in Europe, we all know he’s super-talented and personally I’d love to have him on the team.” he went on to say, “I think if he came to IndyCar, he’d be one of the top drivers in a relatively short period of time.”
Sadly for Rosenqvist, Chip Ganassi Racing scaled back from a four-car team in 2017 to a two-car team for 2018; with 2015 Indy Lights champion Ed Jones joining the team instead.
Despite there being no room for Rosenqvist at Ganassi until now, Felix has not slowed down. He made his debut in Formula E with Mahindra for the 2016/2017 season and impressed immediately. He took five podiums in his debut season, including his and Mahindra’s first victory in the series at the 2017 Berlin ePrix.
He finished that season third in the championship and looked to be in with a serious chance of taking the 2017/2018 championship after earning back-to-back victories at the second and third races of the season in Hong Kong and Marrakesh. Sadly, a pair of retirements mid-season and a string of poor results toward the end of the year saw Felix slip to sixth in the standings, but he found better fortune over in Japan’s Super Formula series, where he finished third overall; five points off of the championship leader after the final two races at Suzuka were cancelled.
With an impressive career to his name so far, today’s announcement will see him join arguably the highest-profile championship that he has ever competed in. His new team boss, Chip Ganassi, stated today that he was confident in what Felix could accomplish in his rookie season based on the Swede’s previous tests with the team.
“Felix has become familiar with our team and has worked in our system a little bit after coming over to test with us on a few occasions,” Ganassi said today.
“Our management and engineering groups, along with the entire team, were impressed by his ability. The time was right to get him in the No. 10 car, and I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that we are confident about what he can do behind the wheel next season.
“In addition, we are extremely proud to announce that NTT DATA has renewed with us as part of a multiyear deal. They have been a fantastic partner of the team and big advocates for the sport for a number of years, and we are pleased to see it move into the future.”
The disappointed party after today’s announcement will undoubtedly be the Ed Jones camp. The Dubai-born British driver is now out of a drive after having been replaced by Rosenqvist, but he will be hoping that handful of decent results over the last two seasons have been enough to catch the attention of another team. Jones has three podiums to his name so far and he will very much hope to be able to increase that tally in the future.
Rosenqvist’s first track-time in his new #10 NTT Data Ganassi Honda will likely come in pre-season testing, which was announced today to be taking place at the Circuit of the Americas. His first race, the 2019 IndyCar Series season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, will take place on March 10.